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Here's My Workshop!

By Don Henderson
Orleans, ON

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

Due to a recent move I had to design and build a new workshop. My shop is located in my basement so there is a strong focus on dust and noise control. The shop is roughly the size of a single car garage with annexes. The entry area leads from the rec room and is a machine storage and veneering/inlay work area. The only permanent fixed machines in the main shop are the 16 inch band saw and the 18 inch drill press. The main shop has an absorbent mat floor and a mix of natural fluorescent area lighting and incandescent task lighting.

While I have a range of fine machinery, my interest is focused on hand tools and I balance their use with machines - often I find it too much trouble to take the time to set up a machine and just grab a plane or chisel instead. That said, you often can't beat machinery for batching project parts and that makes set up worth while.

It is a basement shop but it has a nice birds eye maple entryway:

Dust collection is critical for an in house shop. My centralized dust collector and shop vac are located in a separate insulated, sound proofed room. Both have one micron filters and the air is returned to the shop through electrostatic filters. This set up makes for an exceptionally clean and quiet shop and no dust in the house or tracked out of the work areas. My wife is happy and so am I.

My 16 inch band saw is the primary go to tool in my shop. The Wood Slicer Blades are fantastic and allow me to go from saw cut to glue up for most woods with a reasonably fresh blade. Some woods or highly figured pieces do require a few light passes with a handplane. I resaw a lot of veneers for my projects and with fresh blades there is no need for going to the jointer or thickness planer between slices - I go straight to glue up with no problem.The band saw has a shop made table that better meets my requirements and the outfeed is a multi-purpose bench.

Because of the small size there is a lot of multi-use space. There are two flip over tables, one for a lathe and the other for power sharpening equipment. When flipped over planks are put in place to fill in the outfeed table top. The area also serves as an assembly bench. In the photos below the lathe is "down" while the grinders are "up". This is the most useable configuration for me as the lathe is not used very often while the five feet of out feed area for the band saw meets 95% of my requirements.

There are a lot of hand tools so storage for these took some planning and I am satisfied with the outcome:

I have an "annex" area which is a general storage area/furnace room and contains my table saw, jointer/planer and a second band saw dedicated to curve cutting as well as my precision cut off storage. The jointer/planer is on wheels and is moved about as required. There also is a finishing area and the cat litter box with exterior ventilation through a computer fan and external clothes dryer type hood that it vents through. It works great, all you can smell is the stored wood.

A lot of my past woodworking projects involved the restoration of old wooden boats. I have since given up these projects as they are too costly and time consuming, but below are two of the boats I restored. My last boat was a 42 foot matthews. I also completed restoration of a 33 foot Shepherd, which won two firsts in the Ottawa International Boat Show.

Below are more pictures of some of my projects, including an Arts & Crafts furniture collection I built for the family room:

An art deco hall table built to fit the curve of the foyer staircase.

If you have any questions feel free to email Don at

Want to see more shops? Check out our Shops Gallery , featuring many of the shops that we have featured in previous editions of Wood News.

Would you like for your shop to appear in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your woodworking shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.

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